Improving your local path network

Many Ramblers groups and individual volunteers have been involved in activities to improve their local path network.  Ramblers Scotland can support much of this activity, providing guidance and advice or connecting groups with others who have carried out similar work so they can pass on the benefit of their own experiences.  Remember also that keeping paths free from obstruction is important and many Ramblers volunteers are involved in ensuring that access is not restricted.

What can you do?
Here are some ideas on how to improve your local paths. Remember that you can contact your local authority or national park access officer if you have a query, contact details are available here. 

  • Raising funds – as constituted groups, Ramblers groups can make applications for funding for new signage, benches, information or interpretation boards.  Alternatively, the members may wish to raise funds through raffles or other sponsored activities which they can contribute towards new path-related infrastructure.
  • Check out Paths for All's Community Path and Community Active Travel grants, which are potentially suitable sources of funding for this style of scheme.
  • Path maintenance – groups can also set up path maintenance work parties. Please read our guidance in the document hub in Assemble to be covered by Ramblers insurance.  Groups can also contact the access officer in the local authority to ask if they will organise a path maintenance day for Ramblers members or contact existing “Friends of” groups and contribute to their work.
  • Litter picking – groups or individual volunteers can carry out litter picks on busy paths.  If there is a high volume of litter, particularly larger items, contact your local authority to see if they can arrange for a skip to be provided and collected later.
  • Access obstructions – volunteers can join their Local Access Forum or they can work on behalf of their group as an Access Officer , being a point of contact for any reports of access issues in their area and taking them to the local authority. 
  • Path warden schemes – some local authorities use volunteers as wardens who adopt a path in their local area and regularly walk it to check on any issues arising. Contact your access officer to find out if you can get involved with y our path network.
  • Mapping Scotland’s Paths – for those who enjoy digital-based path auditing work, sign up as a volunteer path checker with our Mapping Scotland’s Paths  project.

Ramblers guidance

We have lots of advice available for volunteers under path maintenance in the document hub in our Assemble website:

  • Repairing and replacing bridges
  • Signage on paths – guidance for members and volunteers
  • Group access officer role description
  • Area access coordinator role description
  • Campaigning on access issues

What our groups and members have been doing

Here are some examples of the path improvement work that some of our members have been involved in across Scotland. Let us know if your group should be included!

  • Balerno Ramblers raised funds to contribute towards a new bridge in the Pentland Hills regional park. They also regularly join the Friends of the Pentlands group to undertake path maintenance work.
  • Bearsden & Milngavie Ramblers created a leaflet showing walks in their area which they sold through the local tourist information centre. This raised funds for an interpretation boards in central Milngavie and Mugdock Country Park. The group also partner with Milngavie in Bloom to keep the first part of the West Highland Way, which starts in Milngavie, looking good.
  • Cunninghame Ramblers created a signed route in their area to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Previously, they put together a booklet of 25 routes in North Ayrshire and Arran to mark their 25th anniversary.
  • Glasgow Ramblers worked alongside Glasgow City Council to  to create and develop the Magnificent 11, a four-part, circular 11-mile walk linking seven wonderful greenspace habitats on the southside of Glasgow, including Local Nature Reserves and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. All 4 parts can be completed on their own, with each having ready access to public transport, but walked together the route offers a truly Magnificent 11 miles celebrating Glasgow! 
  • Inverclyde Ramblers developed the original route of the Inverclyde Coastal Path and then liaised with Inverclyde Council on the delivery of a successful bid to the Coastal Communities Fund to improve the street furniture and signage along this long distance route.
  • Inverurie Ramblers have been volunteering on path maintenance work parties to keep the Gordon Way free from encroachment.
  • One individual volunteer, Elaine Collins, has been working with the council and path volunteers around Cardenden in Fife to improve the path network in Fife and keep the paths free from obstructions. Including moving several tons of type 1 in carrier bags to relay a path surface!
  • St Andrews & NE Fife Ramblers created a leaflet of walks around Cupar which has been reprinted many times due to its popularity.

Useful links

Page updated June 2021